Ryan Clark Coming Up Big in Troy Polamalu’s Absence

Ryan Clark Coming Up Big in Troy Polamalu’s Absence

Not having Troy Polamalu on the field with his hair flopping around from sideline to sideline is very noticeable. Ryan Clark though is filling Polamalu’s shoes pretty well and making a huge difference on the Steelers’ defense. At one point Clark was ready to leave the Steel City, but the Steelers realized what they had in him and made sure they kept him around.

Usually it’s Troy’s job to prowl all over the field and mess with the quarterback’s head, but since he’s only played in two games this year you see Ryan Clark taking that role more and more. He seems to be at the lines of scrimmage a lot more this year than at years past. Maybe it’s his studying of film that he recognizes formations from the other team that they run out of the majority of the time, or maybe it’s because Coach Lebeau has given him more freedom to roam around the field like Polamalu would do if he was healthy.

Clark has become one of the best tackling safeties in the league, and surprisingly those tackles aren’t far from the line of scrimmage. When you think of safeties making a tackle you think of it either being on a big pass play or after a 10 yard run by a running back. When he see’s run; he takes a direct route to that running back and makes textbook tackles. Even after being slowed by two concussions in three weeks; he still has no problem with sticking his nose in the run game.

There have been two games this year where Clark has eclipsed double digits in tackles; against the Titans he had 11 and against the Chiefs he had 10. He also has forced 3 turnovers; one of those being a huge game changer when he forced Michael Vick to fumble as he was going in for a score. As Steeler fans we are used to seeing big plays made from our safeties, but usually that player has number 43 on his jersey.

Taking the game of football for granted is something that Ryan Clark just does not do. He cherishes the fact that he has gotten to play along-side some of the best safeties to ever grace a football field. If Clark was going to leave the Steelers a couple years ago in free agency and sign somewhere else; he was going to where number 43 in honor of Troy Polamalu because of his greatness and how much being Troy’s teammate meant to Ryan. This season you notice Clark isn’t wearing glove, and he just tapes his fingers. That is to honor the late Sean Taylor who was sadly shot to death in his home 5 years ago, and who Clark played with during his time in Washington. Ryan Clark is filling Troy Polamalu’s shoes just fine while he on the sidelines with a calf injury. It’s going to be great to see that defensive backfield with two great safeties running around back there, and hopefully that opportunity will come this Sunday against the Ravens.

 

comments

Jeff Held

Jeff is a freelance writer for Pittsburgh Sporting News.

social
More in NFL
Sep 3, 10 hours ago

Brady suspension nullification latest challenge for Steelers

Brady suspension nullification latest challenge for SteelersThe Pittsburgh Steelers got their wish. Now the question becomes should the Steelers be careful what they wish for? In a ruling that is certain to send shockwaves throughout the NFL and bring outrage to most fans outside of New England, Judge ...

Read  
Sep 3, 12 hours ago

AM Joe: Football is back!

AM Joe: Football is back!Good morning, Pittsburgh. Here’s your day in sports for Thursday, September 3, 2015. What’s on tap for today: The Pirates (79-52) will l0ok to avoid their second consecutive sweep this season at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers (57-75) at Miller ...

Read  
Sep 2, 1 day ago

Bryant suspension provides big opportunity for Steelers Heyward-Bey

Bryant suspension provides big opportunity for Steelers Heyward-BeyWhen Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken seventh overall in the 2009 draft by the Oakland Raiders, he was known more for his speed than production as a player. Immediately labeled another one of the late Al Davis’s famous “reaches” before he ...

Read